Student Communities and Individualism in American Cinema

Educational Studies: A Jrnl of the American Educ. Studies Assoc 46 (2):168-191 (2010)
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Hollywood films partially construct how Americans think about education. Recent work on the representation of schools in American cinema has highlighted the role of class difference in shaping school film genres. It has also advanced the idea that a nuanced understanding of American individualism helps to explain why the different class genres are shaped as they are. This article attempts to refine this theoretical approach by focusing on the paradox of individualism, which suggests that individualism must always be dependent on community. We examine 5 films (Rushmore 1988, The Breakfast Club 1985, Mona Lisa Smile 2003, School of Rock 2003, and Stand and Deliver 1988) and argue that, although the values of individualism are certainly celebrated, these films also show, perhaps unwittingly, that the achievements of individualism require robust student communities. We describe how student communities function in these films, what achievements they make possible, and what obstacles they face



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Experience and Education.John Dewey - 1939 - Philosophy 14 (56):482-483.
Orientalism.Peter Gran & Edward Said - 1980 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 100 (3):328.
Individualism.Steven Lukes - 1974 - Political Theory 2 (4):449-450.
Democracy and Education.J. E. Creighton - 1916 - Philosophical Review 25 (5):735.

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